Modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, who was in pretrial detention in Paris in the wake of a human trafficking and underage sex scandal focused on deceased US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, has been found dead, the AFP news agency reported on Saturday.
The French judiciary had opened investigations into the agent for the rape of minors and for sexual assault. The 76-year-old had been in pretrial detention for more than a year.
Newspaper Le Parisien reported, citing judicial sources, that Brunel was discovered hanged in his cell some time during the night.
Brunel was also suspected of having contacted and organized young girls for Epstein. Prosecutors had already launched an investigation into Brunel in the summer of 2019 and raided his Paris-based modelling agency.
Epstein, who killed himself in a New York prison in August 2019, was charged in the US with abusing dozens of underage girls. He was accused of setting up a sex-trafficking ring with accomplices.
Epstein owned a luxury flat in Paris near the Champs-Elysees. Brunel, who was one of Epstein’s close confidants, was arrested at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport in December 2020 as he was about to leave the country.
Most recently, a court in the US found Epstein’s ex-partner Ghislaine Maxwell guilty at the end of December. The jury in New York decided that Maxwell, as Epstein’s aide, had played a central role in setting up Epstein’s ring for the sexual abuse of young girls.
The 60-year-old faces several decades in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28. Her lawyers have requested a retrial.